The 19-year-old American has already won the Under-21 Premier League's Player of the Month award for August and made his Black Cats debut this term.
After being surprisingly left off the USA’s Under-20 World Cup squad in the summer, Sunderland's Lynden Gooch has told American Soccer Now how the setback has helped inspire his recent impressive form.
Gooch, 19, featured on a regular basis for the US Under-20s in the run-up to the tournament in New Zealand, while seeing time in various attacking positions and even in a deeper midfield role on occasions.
However, when the time came for head coach Tab Ramos to name his final 23-man roster, the California-native found himself forced to watch on from home as his teammates jetted off to the South West Pacific without him.
The States would ultimately go on to be eliminated by eventual winners Serbia 6-5 on penalties at the quarter-final stage following a 0-0 draw after extra-time and, having managed just one goal in their final three games, the versatile forward believes he could have made a difference had he been given a chance to contribute up top.
“If I wasn’t very frustrated, there would be something wrong,” Gooch said. “I thought it was harsh because whenever I was called upon, I did my job. I played in positions I have never played in before. It was harsh to take because I don’t feel I had the opportunity to show what I could have done in my actual position. Because I could play multiple positions, which is a good thing, it killed me.
Clearly a disappointing day but that's football. Wanna wish my U20 family all the best this month especially my good friends #BackToWork— Lynden Gooch (@lyndengooch11) May 7, 2015
"So it was really frustrating but I think I’ve used it in a positive way. I’ve tried to come back out and show everyone they’ve got that wrong.”
Gooch has certainly managed to do just that, having won the Under-21 Premier League’s Player of the Month award for August after opening the campaign with three goals in three games.
His impressive form even earned the American his senior debut for Sunderland in last month’s 6-3 Capital One Cup victory over Exeter City, when a bright 32-minute display off the bench gave the Stadium of Light crowd a noticeable lift.
An unused substitute for the subsequent 2-2 league draw at Aston Villa, the skilful No. 10 is now hoping to become a bigger fixture in the first-team moving forward, although he would not be averse to a loan move in the near future either.
“I am training with the first team every day and you learn a lot from experienced pros. It’s going really well,” he added to ASN. “We have a big squad of about 23-24 players so there are a lot of players that get left out on matchdays.
"When I play for the U-21s, I need to keep doing what I’ve been doing—scoring goals and creating chances for my teammates. If I am not playing for the first team that much, obviously I would like to go out on loan at some point to get some more first-team football.
"I know I am good enough and I am hungry for that now.”
Gooch, who holds a British passport through his Colchester-born father, first joined Sunderland as a trainee in June 2012 amid rival interest from Everton and AC Milan [h/t American Soccer Now], which goes some length towards highlighting his potential.
Aside from his recent Sunderland debut, his only other experience of first-team football came during a seven-game spell on loan at Conference side Gateshead last season but, if he continues to show such rapid progress over the coming months, then it will not be long before he is tasting a lot more senior action.